Chapter   Twenty-Eight

One month later.....

“Estella, I’m gonna go take a walk,” Destiny said. “Can you watch the twins for me?”

“Of course,” said Estella. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. I just need to take a walk.”

“Be careful, Dee Dee.”

Destiny smiled at her sister. “I will.”

Destiny grabbed her jacket and walked out the door. The temperature started going down within the last couple of weeks, so it was a little nippy. Destiny walked over to the park not far from her house. As always, her mind was on AJ. And, as always, thinking of him brought tears to her eyes. Destiny eventually recovered from her gunshot wound, the doctors saying it was miracle that she was alive when she got to the hospital. The next day, Denise McLean, Justin and Aerial Morningdove, Kevin, Kristin, Nick, Estella, Hope, Jerald, Howie, Claudia, and Brian were at the hospital. Denise, Justin, and Aerial told Destiny AJ died of a fatal gunshot wound before he could be taken to the hospital. The very next week, Destiny was watching her husband being buried. She felt like it was a dream. The Backstreet Boys canceled their tour. Fans from all over the world came to the cemetery where AJ was being buried. Destiny got letters of condolences and flowers every day from fans everywhere. AJ’s gravesite was always covered in flowers and notes saying how much the fans missed him. Destiny tried to understand it all, tried really hard, but she couldn’t. I miss him so much, Destiny thought to herself. She looked up at the sky.

“Why, Great Spirit?” she asked quietly. “Why did you have to take him? If I’d known that Alex’s life was the price I had to pay for coming back, I never would’ve done it.”

She reached a bench and sat down with her head in her hands.

“Are you okay?” a voice asked her.

Destiny looked up. She saw a girl of about fourteen looking at her with concern. She was with a guy Destiny assumed was her boyfriend. Wow, they start young these days, she thought. Finally, Destiny spoke.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” she said, wiping the tears away. “Thanks for your concern.”

“I know how much you miss him,” the girl said.

“Excuse me?” Destiny asked.

“AJ,” the girl said. “You’re his wife, right?”

Destiny smiled. “Yes. Yes, I was.”

“I thought I recognized you. My name’s Lyrical.” The girl held out her hand.

Destiny shook her hand. “Destiny McLean. It’s nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you, too.” Lyrical grabbed her boyfriend’s hand. “This is my boyfriend, Brad.”

Destiny shook his hand, too. “Nice to meet you, too, Brad.”

“You, too, Mrs. McLean,” she said.

“Please, call me Destiny.”

“All right,” said Lyrical. “Do you mind if we sit?”

“No, that’s fine.” Destiny gestured to the seats next to her.

Lyrical and Brad sat down next to her. Lyrical looked at her sadly.

“We know how hard it is for you right now, Destiny,” she started. “All of us Backstreet Boys fans feel the same way. All of us miss AJ. We never thought this would happen to them.”

“I didn’t either,” Destiny told her. “It was almost like I thought Alex was invincible, you know?”

“Yeah, we know,” said Brad. “It’s the same with us.”

“You mean you’re a fan, too?”

Brad smiled a little. “I know it’s a little strange. I wasn’t at first, but when Lyrical got me to listen to their music, I got used to them. t wasn’t long before she took me to my first Backstreet Boys concert. I saw a lot of other guys with their girlfriends having a lot of fun, so I figured these guys are doing something right if I’m not the only guy there having fun.”

“Yeah, that’s how my brother was,” Destiny said. “He couldn’t believe that I married a Backstreet Boy. He was like ‘You’ve never showed any interest in them before’. I was like, ‘That was before I met Alex.’ I was like a lot of people, not really interested in the so-called ‘boy band’ phenomena. I thought it was just for little girls. No offense to you, Lyrical.”

“That’s okay,” she said. “I understand what you’re saying. A lot of people still think the Backstreet Boys are just for ‘teenyboppers’.”

“But once I heard their music, I knew they were something special,” Destiny went on. “Why others don’t hear it is something I fail to understand. After the guys at college found out I was married to Alex, a lot of them were like ‘I thought the Backstreet Boys were gay’ and stuff like that.”

“That was just their jealousy,” Lyrical said. “I know a lot of guys like that.”

“A lot of my friends would make fun of me because I listened to their music,” Brad said. “But Lyrical told me to just ignore them. If they were really my friends, they wouldn’t care whose music I listened to. Now we have this whole Backstreet clique going at school.”

“That’s what the Boys were hoping they could do for their fans,” Destiny said. “To bring them all together, no matter what the differences between them. Alex used to talk to me about that all the time. How Backstreet Fans are the best, how they stick by them through all their tough times, and help them celebrate all the good times. You guys don’t know how much it meant to him when a lot of the fans showed up at our wedding, standing outside and yelling out their congratulations. He was so proud to have you all as fans....”

Destiny’s voice started shaking as she tried to calm her emotions. Lyrical put an arm around her comfortingly.

“Don’t cry, Destiny. AJ wouldn’t want you to be sad. I know he wouldn’t, just like he wouldn’t want the fans to be sad.”

“I know. It’s just really hard not to be sad. I miss him so much.”

“I do, too,” said Lyrical, her voice started to shake. “I met him a couple times. And knowing I will never be able to really tell him how much he’s done for me, it hurts me more than anything.”

Destiny hugged the girl to her as she cried. She joined her in her moment of sadness and loss, letting her tears fall. After a while, Destiny told Lyrical and Brad she had to get back home to her sons. Right before she turned to leave, she looked back at them.

“Would you guys like to come visit Lance and Hunter?” she asked.

“Of course,” Lyrical said. She looked at Brad.

“If you want to, Lyrical,” he told her. She gave him a kiss on the cheek.

The three of them headed towards Destiny’s house. When they walked through the door, Destiny introduced Lyrical and Brad to Estella. Then she brought over Lance and Hunter. Lyrical held Lance in her arms while Brad held Hunter. Destiny got her camera and took a couple of pictures. She got Lyrical’s address and told her she’d send her some copies of the pictures when she got them developed. After a half hour, Lyrical and Brad left. Destiny felt a lot better and went to lay the twins down for their nap.

Chapter Twenty-Nine
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